Estate planning is the process of arranging for your assets to be dealt with, after death, in accordance with your wishes while minimising the impact of stamp duty, tax and administration expenses. Effective structuring of your business and investments during your lifetime is an integral part of any estate plan.
The underlying objective of an estate plan should be to generate wealth and then to quarantine assets to ensure that they remain available for distribution as you wish, and are not exposed to the risks of the commercial world.
A will is generally the most important document any person will sign. After death the terms of a will can only be altered by a court and, unless a court intervenes, the will regulates how the deceased’s assets are to be finally dealt with.
A will can be challenged for a host of reasons ranging from improper execution of the document through to complaints that it did not adequately apportion the deceased’s estate to potential or actual beneficiaries.
Business assets, such as shares in a company or ownership interests in a partnership or trust, often have the highest value and provide the greatest opportunity for dispute. A business succession strategy, providing for management and ownership of the company,partnership or trust, is normally an indispensable element of an estate plan.
Superannuation and the proceeds of life insurance policies are another high value class of assets which need to be carefully dealt with as part of an estate plan.
superannuation structures need to be strategically reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they comply with the rapidly changing laws and that their tax-effective value is maximised
Using an enduring power of attorney (EPA) you can select the person or people you wish to look after your an endur affairs if you are incapacitated through illness, accident or old age. An EPA will specify the powers you wish to give to one or more people and can give directions about your wishes in relation to what happens to you and your assets.
A sensible estate plan will usually require input from your financial adviser, accountant and lawyer to ensure that it provides adequately for your needs.
The good news is that Wealthpath is now teamed up with Elawyer and can offer you Estate Planning